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Thread: When does proving one's truth claims come to an end?

  1. #211
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I'm blocking an account form the current physicalist paradigm. If what is understood as 'physical' changes sufficiently to account for conscious experiences, then my argument would change. Current physical concepts can't account for consciousness, IMO.
    You are arbitrarily eliminating a productive methodology. There has been a great deal of scientific progress via neuroscience and fMRI into understanding the consciousness of sentient creatures such as us.

    It's a different ontology. Science deals with third-person ontology. Consciousness is essentially rooted in first-person ontology.
    You may think this but we don’t know that. You are presenting an ‘argument from ignorance’.

    The essential incompleteness of physicalism.
    Again, this is an ‘argument from ignorance’ and you have yet to present an alternative argument - as I previously requested.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  2. Amen shunyadragon amen'd this post.
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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    There's no ought involved with animals because animals aren't rational; they're not moral agents. The same holds true with infants. They're moral patients, that is, they are morally considerable beings who aren't agents, ie aren't morally responsible themselves. So it's wrong to torture an infant or animal even though they lack moral responsibilities themselves.
    My point Jim is that pain avoidance need not include an ought. It is often instinctual. You don't think, I ought to remove my hand from the hot stove, you just do it.

    I thought I already answered your second question. It's not opinion that we can view the world from no particular point of view from within it. If that is 'opinion,' then all of science, math and logic are opinion as well. I am one person among many and even though my needs are most important to me subjectively and instinctively, they ought not be in terms of the truth that what I need and feel are just particular instances of universal realities, and that dreadful pain is not bad because I myself happen to feel it but because such pain itself is a bad thing. I can revert to self-centered care taking most of the time and it has no moral repercussions, but when a moral dilemma arises, I can align myself with the truth or with falsehood.
    Jim math and logic are not like ethics. The Maoist believes that 2+2=4, he does not believe that killing dissidents is immoral. And again, you are still making a leap - that because pain is a bad thing to you therefore you shouldn't cause pain to others even if their pain brings you pleasure or gain. I will ask again Jim, why is their pain avoidance more morally correct than my desire for pleasure?
    Last edited by seer; 02-10-2020 at 05:15 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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  4. #213
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    You are arbitrarily eliminating a productive methodology. There has been a great deal of scientific progress via neuroscience and fMRI into understanding the consciousness of sentient creatures such as us.
    I'm not eliminating third-person methodology for investigating third-person data. All I'm saying is that first-person data drops out or third-person accounts, no matter how exhaustive the research and the sets of correlations established.



    You may think this but we don’t know that. You are presenting an ‘argument from ignorance’. [/QUOTE]

    It's not an 'argument form ignorance.' That's not what an argument from ignorance is about. I am not saying that something IS the case due to our ignorance. I am saying that a certain kind of reduction does not work. I am blocking your argument.



    Again, this is an ‘argument from ignorance’ and you have yet to present an alternative argument - as I previously requested.
    There are alternative arguments, but here I am focused on blocking your argument.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    Well, you already gave a reason in this very paragraph for why God cannot be immutably good and that His goodness be logically dependent on good-making features external to Himself. If God is necessarily and immutably free then it follows that His actions and nature cannot be bound factors outside of Himself, because freedom implies being unbound by external factors. If there is a standard of goodness outside of God then it means God's moral actions and nature is bound by a factor beside Himself, in which case you either have to posit that the reason for God's goodness is found in His own nature, or that God is not necessarily and immutably free.
    God is 'bound' by logic and the parameters of His own nature, but I would prefer to use the word 'defined,' because 'bound' implies force and coercion. God 'cannot' cease to be, become vicious or create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it. But these are not real limitations on His powers or His freedom. They are only logical limits, ie propositional limits. So I would say likewise that with morality it's a logical priority. It's only a conceptual distinction, not an actual one and no actual impediment to His freedom. God's nature has been actually indistinguishable from the morally good for eternity.

    But even without that problem there's the problem of no problem of moral imperative (which I'm going to repeat further down since it has bearing on multiple parts of the discussion.) Even if an external standard of morality independent of God existed there would exist no reason or obligation for God to conform to this external standard at all. And the reason for why God's nature mirrored this standard would be similarly inexplicable. This standard that you posit to exist would be, for lack of a better phrase, imperatively impotent.
    I don't believe that God has any moral obligation at all, since He is morally perfect. "Ought" does not apply to Him, IMO. It only applies to finite, imperfect beings such as ourselves. God is in perfect alignment with what is good. As for why God mirrors this standard, God is perfection, which would entail moral perfection. Why is God perfection? The "Why's" have to end at some point. The only question is how satisfying is the end-point of the "why-asking process"? I could ask you why is God the good? That is also ultimately inexplicable. All either of us can offer is that God is necessary, and that we can derive goodness somehow from the fact of being or existence. But ultimately, I would submit you have no easier job in terms of the explicability of God's goodness than I do. You might, in fact, have a harder one.




    Well, it's not a strict identity statement. It's a shorthand for "That which is good stems from God's nature". And the connection between reasons and the wrongness of clearly wrong actions are pretty clear to me. As humans we are created in God's image, which means that we are to reflect, as mirrors, God's moral nature. All thoughts, behaviors and actions that lead us closer to mirroring God's moral perfection are properly called morally good, and all thoughts, behaviors and actions that lead us further away from mirroring God's moral perfection are properly called morally bad, or evil.

    With regards to your comment about God's goodness is good simply because He is God, you could also put it this way: That which is good is good because it's a part of God's nature, or derived from God's nature. But to be perfectly honest I fail to see the problematic nature of the statement.
    Yes, I agree with everything you say about it being part of God's nature, but what I'm wondering is "Does it make sense to wonder WHY is it part of God's nature?" This goes to the discussion I'm having with seer now about the nature of pain.

    I also fail to see why a moral standard outside of God gives you "clear and self-evident reasons for goodness and rightness". In fact, I would argue that the very fact that you're here arguing about it is clear indication that it's not "clear and self-evident" at all. Not only that, but a platonic idea such as an external standard of morality is utterly incapable of imposing the slightest moral imperative of any sort what so ever. Even if there existed such an external standard (and there are no good reasons to think there are) nobody would have the slightest obligation to conform themselves according to that standard.
    I'm not committed to a 'Platonic standard' of the Good. I'm not even sure if 'the good' is a proper noun at all. It may just be a functional noun for whatever is commendable, desirable or praiseworthy. Like saying "the Tall." What's good can only exist with the valuation of a personal entity, I agree. All values have to be realized by valuers. The same is true for numbers, I would argue. Numbers exist only potentially until a person or some personal entity realizes them. Values are synergistic entities, like colors. Values need valuers just as colors need beings with optical systems and the right physical conditions. But that doesn't mean the values or the colors are 'subjective' or just the product of invention. They're really there.




    1. Goodness as a separate platonic entity apart from a personal subject or consciousness, or as separate from the relation or interaction between two personal entities makes no sense what so ever. Goodness is never found as a feature or quality in interactions between two non-personal entities, or between a personal entity and a non-personal entity. Goodness is always found in interactions between two or more personal entities. To posit that something which by it's very nature is personal and relational in nature finds it's ultimate source in some non-personal platonic standard of morality which is incapable of standing in a personal relationship with other subjects is something I'm not willing to do unless someone gives me a very convincing reason why. You simply will not find the source for something personal/relational in the impersonal.

    2. Goodness is immutable not because of any quality it has by itself, but because it's derived from God's immutable nature. If that which is good is necessarily and immutably good then it is so for no other reason than because God's nature is necessarily and immutably that which it is. There are no possible worlds in which God's nature could have been different from His nature in the actual world, and there is no possibility of God's nature ever changing into something different than the nature He has from eternity and will continue to have for an eternity into the future. And so it follows that that which is good will always be good not for any reason intrinsic to itself, but solely for the reason that goodness is derived from the necessary and immutable nature of God.
    The Good doesn't have to exist apart as a separate Platonic standard. What is good doesn't have to be different in kind from what makes a triangle or the fact that God 'cannot' cease to exist. They might be logical, propositional limits only. God is still omnipotent even if He 'cannot' commit self-contradiction.

    If God's goodness has to be logically prior to anything that could possibly make it good, then that goodness is a blank with no features at all. Here's an article I posted earlier that goes into that:

    http://faculty.georgetown.edu/koonsj.../Euthyphro.pdf

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    My point Jim is that pain avoidance need not include an ought. It is often instinctual. You don't think, I ought to remove my hand from the hot stove, you just do it.
    It need not, as in, my hand is ALREADY ON THE STOVE. I said, to avoid a FUTURE PAIN, I ought not put my hand on that stove in the future.



    Jim math and logic are not like ethics. The Maoist believes that 2+2=4, he does not believe that killing dissidents is immoral. And again, you are still making a leap - that because pain is a bad thing to you therefore you shouldn't cause pain to others even if their pain brings you pleasure or gain. I will ask again Jim, why is their pain avoidance more morally correct than my desire for pleasure?
    Math and logic are not directly analogous to ethics. There were a couple of steps involved that I hoped you'd follow. Math, logic and science, on the one hand, and ethics on the other hand, are based on the same foundational assumption that we can view the world objectively, from no particular point of view from within it.

    Because I can view the world from no particular point of view from within it, dreadful pain is bad not because it's MINE but because it's ANYBODY'S. If my pain ought to stop, there's no good reason why any pain ought not to be stopped. When a moral dilemma arises, I am free to align myself with this truth or with the falsehood that the only pain that ought to be stopped is my pain. And why are we compelled to choose truth over falsehood? That's where I draw on Kant and the Categorical Imperative and the foundational nature of truth to being a rational agent at all.

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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I'm not eliminating third-person methodology for investigating third-person data. All I'm saying is that first-person data drops out or third-person accounts, no matter how exhaustive the research and the sets of correlations established.
    Well no it doesn’t. To repeat: “There has been a great deal of scientific progress via neuroscience and fMRI into understanding the consciousness of sentient creatures such as us”. There is no reason to assume that it cannot result in a “first-person” understanding of consciousness in due course.

    It's not an 'argument form ignorance.' That's not what an argument from ignorance is about. I am not saying that something IS the case due to our ignorance. I am saying that a certain kind of reduction does not work. I am blocking your argument.
    But you are not saying why it “does not work”, this an assumption based upon an ‘argument from ignorance’.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  8. Amen shunyadragon amen'd this post.
  9. #217
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Math and logic are not directly analogous to ethics. There were a couple of steps involved that I hoped you'd follow. Math, logic and science, on the one hand, and ethics on the other hand, are based on the same foundational assumption that we can view the world objectively, from no particular point of view from within it.
    You are just asserting that morality is like ethics. It is not, math and logic do not depend on interpersonal interaction. If there were no minds in the universe the sun could not both exist and not exist at the same moment (the law of non-contradiction holds). There would still be distance between the earth and the moon before any person invented tokens of measurement. Logic and math are grounded in physical characteristics. If there were no minds the moral concept that murder is wrong does not exist. It is completely mind dependent and dependent on persons.

    Because I can view the world from no particular point of view from within it, dreadful pain is bad not because it's MINE but because it's ANYBODY'S. If my pain ought to stop, there's no good reason why any pain ought not to be stopped. When a moral dilemma arises, I am free to align myself with this truth or with the falsehood that the only pain that ought to be stopped is my pain. And why are we compelled to choose truth over falsehood? That's where I draw on Kant and the Categorical Imperative and the foundational nature of truth to being a rational agent at all.
    Again that is merely your opinion Jim, you can not demonstrate that only being concerned about my pain is a falsehood or irrational. Selfishness or greed are not irrational, they seen quite intrinsic to human nature. That is no more than a baseless assertion on your part.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

  10. #218
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    Well no it doesn’t. To repeat: “There has been a great deal of scientific progress via neuroscience and fMRI into understanding the consciousness of sentient creatures such as us”. There is no reason to assume that it cannot result in a “first-person” understanding of consciousness in due course.
    But there ARE very good reasons to assume it cannot, which I have been stating. I think there's a confusion about what a "first-person understanding" means. Science can fill in correlations between scientific data of various types and what subjects report their first-person experiences to be. But that research would still only yield understanding from a third-person, 'objective' point of view, which is the ineliminable perspective of science. The first-person ontology would necessarily be subsumed, and have to drop out, under, be eliminated by, the third-person perspective of the sciences. There's a question-begging implicit in your assumption about the research program itself.

    You have to explain how first-person accounts could even conceivably be fully accountable through scientific research. Otherwise, yours is just a solution by stipulation, or empty hand waving.



    But you are not saying why it “does not work”, this an assumption based upon an ‘argument from ignorance’.
    'Argument from ignorance' states that a proposition is true on the basis that it hasn't been proven false or that it's false because it hasn't been proven true. That doesn't apply here. I'm not saying that the identity theory is false simply due to lack of evidence or because it hasn't been established yet. I'm saying that it is false because there are good reasons and arguments to think that it is false.

    Identity theorists say that conscious states (Q) are identical to physical states (P). Most think it's a necessary though not conceptual or a priori truth, like 'Water=H2O" or "Heat=Molecular motion." Those identities (water and heat) are necessary but consciousness is contingent. If P and Q are really like water and H2O, then once the physical properties of P are understood, then P by itself should be sufficient for the taste of coffee, the feeling of regret or pain, etc. But this doesn't make sense. The experience of taste seems to be something extra, contingently related to the brain state -- something produced rather than constituted by the brain state. So it cannot be identical to the brain state the way water is identical to H2O.

    There's no conceptually necessary link from physical to phenomenal truths the way there is in every other physical identity statement we know about. There's no conceptual implication as there are with all other identities, such as water and H2O, life and DNA, etc. A physically identical world without consciousness is conceivable, but a physically identical world without water or life is NOT conceivable. Consciousness is a further fact about the world. It doesn't logically supervene upon physical facts. Physical facts do not necessitate consciousness but they do necessitate water, etc.

    Identity theory is a solution by stipulation. It merely asserts an identity without explaining how an identity could even conceivably be established. In the cases of DNA and life and H2O and water, the low level facts imply and necessitate the high-level facts. No such implication is even conceivable in the case of consciousness, requiring a primitive identity logically independent of the physical facts.

    With structure and function, which is what physical properties are, all that could conceivably arise from them is more structure and function. There is not even an explanatory apparatus in place to conceivably give an account of how intrinsic, phenomenal properties could arise out of structure and function alone.

    Chalmers gives three major arguments for the logical non-supervenience of consciousness:

    1) The Explanatory Argument

    2) The Conceivability Argument

    3) The Knowledge Argument

    I can unpack these later but I've sketched out the main thrust of them above.

  11. Amen seer, Chrawnus amen'd this post.
  12. #219
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    But there ARE very good reasons to assume it cannot, which I have been stating. I think there's a confusion about what a "first-person understanding" means. Science can fill in correlations between scientific data of various types and what subjects report their first-person experiences to be. But that research would still only yield understanding from a third-person, 'objective' point of view, which is the ineliminable perspective of science. The first-person ontology would necessarily be subsumed, and have to drop out, under, be eliminated by, the third-person perspective of the sciences. There's a question-begging implicit in your assumption about the research program itself.
    Not so. To date ALL the actual evidence in this field has been generated by science, not philosophical argument – nor can it ever be. Philosophy does not have the tools to do so.

    You have to explain how first-person accounts could even conceivably be fully accountable through scientific research. Otherwise, yours is just a solution by stipulation, or empty hand waving.
    “First-person understanding” is the subjective illusion that we are more than just physical organisms. But there is no good reason to think that we (or any other sentient creatures such as chimpanzees) are more than physical organisms. Nor can philosophy tell us otherwise other than by an unverifiable academic argument.

    'Argument from ignorance' states that a proposition is true on the basis that it hasn't been proven false or that it's false because it hasn't been proven true. That doesn't apply here. I'm not saying that the identity theory is false simply due to lack of evidence or because it hasn't been established yet. I'm saying that it is false because there are good reasons and arguments to think that it is false.
    "It Ain't Necessarily So" (to quote Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess). Philosophical arguments alone can only reformulate the facts contained in scientific models and laws. They cannot generate new facts about nature. And I’m saying that your “good reasons and arguments to think that it is false” are purely academic arguments that can never be verified. In short, what you are arguing is merely a belief-system grounded in subjective feelings.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  13. #220
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    You are just asserting that morality is like ethics. It is not, math and logic do not depend on interpersonal interaction. If there were no minds in the universe the sun could not both exist and not exist at the same moment (the law of non-contradiction holds). There would still be distance between the earth and the moon before any person invented tokens of measurement. Logic and math are grounded in physical characteristics. If there were no minds the moral concept that murder is wrong does not exist. It is completely mind dependent and dependent on persons.
    Morality is like math and logic in the ways that I stated. I didn't say that the similarities applied across the board. Morality is mind-dependent so in that way it may not be like math and logic (That alone is a controversial point in the philosophy of math and logic, but we can set that aside.), but morality depends upon an objective, centerless conception of reality as do math, science and logic as formalisms., and moral truths like the truths of science, math and logic, are objective in the sense that they are true independent of anyone's psychological states.


    Again that is merely your opinion Jim, you can not demonstrate that only being concerned about my pain is a falsehood or irrational. Selfishness or greed are not irrational, they seen quite intrinsic to human nature. That is no more than a baseless assertion on your part.
    Again, everything you and I assert is our opinion. That 1=1 is, in a sense, your opinion because it's an occurrent thought happening inside your brain. All we have to sift out those occurrences that are reliable from those that are not are evidence, arguments and reasons.

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